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by Curtis .1. Uadj^cr 

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Will Virginia's Birds Adapt? 

by Cleiicla C. Boolli 

Changes in climate ^^^l I aU'ecl all wildlile: diis 
f'ealiire considers how hiids iiia\ he impaci cd. 

Sea DiickiiT 

by Tee ClarLsoii 

For a distinct group (if III II ilcis who chase ducks, 

harsh weather on open seas is no reason lo sla\ 


O O Ink) New Terrain 
bv John Ross 

The ant hoi' considers the dial leiiijc orchaiiiriiiir 
residence and orieis lips lor leariiinga new 

O/T Partiier.sliips that Work for You 

by Jenny West 

TheW ildlife l*omid;ilioii ofX irginia hrings 
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OO Slaiidiiig Up for Imperiled lisli 
^^ and Wildlile 

b\ Cliris burkell 

Virginia celebrates ten years ol'cc nis<'i\ al ioi i 
aecomplishmeiits. coiirlcs\ ol'llie SlaleW ildliU 
Grants Program. 


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.i.*,.\y ..',.., i*»i-i 

Executive Director 

Januar}- arrives with litde fanfare, yet reminds us that we are starting 
anew and have an opportunity to reflect on the direction in which we 
are headed. This mental exercise reminds me of all the people who have 
given me so much through their friendship and mentorship. 

Like many folks, my family — and my grandfather, in particular — 
was most responsible tor my interest and love affair with wildlife, with 
guns and hunting, and with the great outdoors. My paternal 
grandfather was born in Floyd County. He was an accomplished 
gunsmith and boat builder, an avid hunter and fisherman, and a man 
of infinite patience with a wanna-be like me. He would not own a rifle 
that would not shoot with supreme accuracy, and he instilled many of 
those same values in me. 

On the professional level, there have been so many people who 
helped me along the way. My first job as a biologist in the mid-grass 
prairies of Kansas found me beholden to two veteran game managers 
who took this green recruit under their wing and helped me learn the 
ropes. My career path then took me back east of the Mississippi in 
Tennessee volunteer country. There, both of my bosses were fisheries 
biologists who were in administrative positions. Those two fellows were 
wonderful to work for, and they gave me great latitude and encouraged 
me to try new things. I am indebted to them both. 

Back home in Virginia, a number of people in what was then 
called the Game Commission gave me a hand up in the business of 
wildlife management. The late Charlie Peery, Joe Coggin, Kit Shaffer, 
and the late Dick Cross were the team that hired me and thus allowed 
me to fulfill a lifelong dream of joining this Department. I am also very 
indebted to Jack Raybourne, who talked me into moving to Richmond. 
Jack was a great supervisor and a valued friend who was a delight to 
work with if one could survive his wicked sense of humor. I also owe 
much to Jack Gwynn, who taught me most of what I know about deer 
biology and management. 

About that same time, the late Jack Randolph, former chairman 
of our board, accepted a position as deputy administrative director. Jack 
always liked to quip that he started out at the top and was working his 
way down the ladder. Mr. Randolph was a retired Army colonel. He 
was an accomplished outdoor writer and one of the most 
knowledgeable about the industry of hunting and fishing. As a young 
upstart, I favored the establishment of a separate archery license and 
was invited by Mr. Randolph to come before the leadership to make a 
pitch for it. Mr. Randolph introduced me as having a concept to share 
with the group, and then-director Cross stated that ". . .as long as I was 
not there to promote a separate bowhunting license, I was free to 
speak." They all had a good laugh. Then we got the bowhunter license 

I guess I coidd fill the pages of this magazine with stories of folks 
who have mentored me or otherwise helped me along the way. It has 
been my distinct pleasure to work personally with many of the DGIF 
folks who have gone before and who, by their deeds, created the 
foundation of the work that we are honored to do. I thank them and all 
of our current staff for making this agency such a wonderful place to do 
work very much worth doing. 

I encourage all of you who love the outdoors to pass along your 
enthusiasm, your talents, and your wisdom to others — because you just 
never know who you will touch and where it might lead. 


To manage Virginia's wildlife and Inland fish to maintain optimum populations of all species to serve the needs of the Commonwealth; To 
provide opportunity for all to enjoy wildlife, inland Hsh, boating and related outdoor recreation and ro work diligcndy to safeguard the rights 
of the people to hunt, fish and harvest game as provided for In the Constitution of Virginia; To promote safety l^or persons and property in 
connection with boating, hunting and fishing; To provide educational outreach programs and materials that foster an awareness of and appre- 
ciation for Virginia's fish and wildlife rcsourcL-.s. their liabitats. and hunting, fisliiiig. and boating opportunities. 

Dedicated to the C^.onservation of Virginias Wildlife and Natural Resources 



Bob McDonnell, Governor 


Subsidized this publication 

Douglas W. Domenech 



Bob Duncan 

Executive Director 

Ward Burton, Halifax 
Lisa Caruso, Church Road 
Brent Clarke, Fairfax 
Curtis D. Colgate, Virginia Beach 
James W. Hazel, Oakton 
Randy J. Kozuch, Alexandria 
John W. Montgomer)', Jr., Sandston 
Mary Louisa Pollard, Irvington 
F. Scott Reed, Jr, Manakin-Sabot 
Leon Turner, Fincastle 
Charles S. Yates, Cleveland 


Sally Mills, Editor 

Lee Walker, Ron Messina, Julia Dixon, 

Contributing Editors 
Emily Pels, Art Director 
Carol Kushlak, Production Manager 
Chris Burkett, Staff Contributor 


Color separations and printing by 
Progress Printing, Lynchburg, VA 

Virpnia Wildlife (ISSN 0042 6792) is published month 
by the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisherie' 
Send all subscription orders and address changes to Virgin I 
Wildlife, P. O. Box 7477, Red Oak, Iowa S 1 591-0477. Ai 
dress all other communications concerning this publicaiicj 
to Virginia Wildlife, P. O. Box 1 1 104. 4010 West Brosi 
Street, Richmond, Virginia 23230-1 104. Subscription ratf 
are $12.95 For one year, $23.95 for two years; $4.00 f\ 
each back issue, subject to availability. Out-of-country ra 
is $24.95 for one year and must be paid in U.S. fiinds. N 
refunds for amounts less than $5.00. lb subscribe, call to) 
free (800) 710-9369. POSTMASTER; send all a. 
dress changes to Virginia Wildlife, PO. Box 7477, Red Oa 
Iowa 51591-0477. Postage for periodicals paid at Rici 
mond, Virginia and additional entry offices. 

Copyright 201 1 by the Virginia Department of Game ai 
Inland Fisheries. All rights reserved. 

The Department of Game and Inland Fisheries shall affo 
to all persons an equal access to Department programs ai 
facilities without regard to race, color, religion, national o 
gin, disability, sex, or age. If you believe that you have bi 

discriminated against in any program, activity or 


please write to; Virginia Department of Game and Inlai 
Fisheries, ATTN; Compliance Officer, (4010 West Bro 
Street.) P O. Box 1 1 104, Richmond, Virginia 23230-1 Kj 

This publication is intended for general informational pil 
poses only and every effort has been made to ensure its ; 
curacy. The information contained herein does not scrvel 
a legal representation of fish and wildlife laws or regulatiol 
Ihe Virginia Department ofGame and Inland Fisheries do 
not a.ssume responsibility for any change in dates, regu 
lions, or information that m.iy occur after publication. 

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Wfien the jirst permanent 'British cofonists settfecfin 
coastal Virginia, their ahiCity to five offtfie (and was vitaO 
to survivaC Tisfiing ancfdunting were essential to fife. (But 
'cr tfie years, as Virginia Became vapufatecf and farms andviffages Began to 
spring up, fisfiing and fiunting c flanged. It no longer was a matter of suBsis- 
tence, at feast for most. But ratfier sport, andwitfi it came tfie manners, etfiics, and 
rituafs tfiat often mimicked those oft fie countryside Bac^ in 'Engfand. Wifdanimafs Became "game," andtfie 
taking offish for entertainment Became "sport" fishing. T'his two-part series foo^s at how fisfiing and hunting 
helped earfy colonists surx'ive in an unfamiliar fand, and it examines the avenues in which suBsistence evofved 
to Become sport. 

Hunting and fishing have not always been considered out- 
door recreation in Virginia. In the early days of the Jamestown 
colony, the ability to hunt game, and especially to catch fish, 
meant the difference between surviving and starving to death. 
And, sadly, in a landscape where game was abundant and fish 
and shellfish were there for the taking, many did die. Only 60 
of the original 214 Jamestown settlers survived the "starving 
time" of the winter of 1609. 

Virginia's first colonists were men of varied backgrounds, 
but they were not skilled at survival. They were not fishermen, 
and they were not equipped to succeed in a wilderness under- 
taking. Lists of original settlers include barbers, bricklayers, 
jewelers, perfumers, and laborers, as well as numerous "gentle- 
men," but few who were hunters or fishermen or boat builders. 
James Wharton wrote a booklet titled The Bounty of the Chesa- 
peake—Fishing in Colonial Virginia as part ot an educational 

packet marking the 350'*' anniversary of the Jamestown settle- 
ment in 1957. Wharton depicted early settlers as inexperienced 
fishermen, who, despite the rich presence of finfish and shellfish 
in local waters, often died of starvation. 

Visits to the New World prior to the Jamestown settlement 
painted a picture of great bounty. Thomas Heriot accompanied 
Sir Walter Raleigh when he explored Roanoke Island, North 
Carolina, in 1585 and wrote of a wealth of sturgeon, herring, 
and many other fish, as well as crabs, oysters, tortoises, mussels, 
and scallops. Tlie native people caught fish in weirs made of 
strong reeds, Heriot wrote, and they speared them from boats or 
while wading in shallow waters. 

Captain Samuel Argall, who was specially commissioned 
by England to fish off the coast to support the Jamestown 
colony, visited the barrier islands of Virginia in 1610 and re- 
ported "a great store offish, both shellfish and others." 




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This 1957 book by James Wharton 
describes life in the early Virginia colony. 
In it, Wharton emphasizes the role that 
Native Americans played in teaching 
colonists fishing techniques critical to 
their survival. 

A 1612 account written by William 
Strachey told of "great shoals of herring and 
sturgeon" and shad a yard long. Strachey 
also described what might be the original 
oyster stew or seafood chowder. Ihe Indi- 
ans, he said, would boil oysters and mussels 
together in the same pot and thicken the 
liquid with "the Hoiu- of their wheat." So 
it could be that we have Native Ameri- 
cans to thank for the practice of making 
a "roux" to thicken soups and stews. 

Wharton wrote that Alexander 
Whitaker in 1613 made the first recorded 
mention oi "torope," or small turtle. Ihe 

term originated with the Native Americans 
and referred to the diamondback terrapin, 
which was unknown in Europe but was to 
become "an indispensable course on menus 
designed for the entertainment of royalty 
and the discriminating elect." 

Reports of the abundance of marine life 
were probably valid, according to Wharton. 
But... "The infinite plenty was one thing," 
he wrote. "Making constant and profitable 
use of it was another." 

Early colonists along the bay were not 
knowledgeable fishermen; they had few if 
any boats suitable for fishing; and they had 
no means of preserving what they did catch 
for use at a later time. And instead of plant- 
ing garden plots for food, they raised to- 
bacco, which they believed a more profitable 
commodity. And so there was hunger in a 
land of plenty. Luckily, for a while Native 
Americans were willing to help them out. 
"Tlie Indians had taught them how to spear 
large fish and erect weirs out of stakes and 
brushwood to ensnare migrating schools," 
wrote Wharton. "Such methods worked 
well enough during the season. But in cold 
weather, when provisions ran low, scarcely 
any fish were present in the bay proper." 

Within a few years, those setting sail 
from England to the New World were better 
prepared. Some had experience in fishing, 
net making, boat building, and salt making. 
On Smith Island in Northampton County 
on the Eastern Shore, salt was made by evap- 
orating sea water, and this important com- 
modity helped preserve fish and other food 
for the Jamestown colony. Still, at least 20 
years passed before fishing became a part of 
the daily life of the community. Instead, the 
people of Jamestown traded with settlers in 
New England anci Canada, importing salted 
fish in exchange for other commodities, usu- 
ally tobacco. Erom this came what is possi- 
bly Virginia's first law regarding fisheries 
management. In August, 1623 the governor 
and council of Virginia passed a proc- 
lamation to prevent price gouging on fish 
brought in from New England. 

But as the population grew and as peo- 
ple began to realize what a valuable resource 
they had, Virginians no longer depended 
upon imported fish. Fishing became a com- 
mercial venture as well as a matter of subsis- 
tence. A 1649 account attributed the pop 
ulation of Virginia at more than 15,000 in 
nimicrous settlements, with boats of many 





Courtesy of the U, S, Fish and Wildlife Service 

sizes and purposes, most of which dealt with 
fishing. As fishing grew in commercial im- 
portance, colonists took steps to bar Native 
Americans from coastal waters, a step that 
increased the enmity between natives and 
colonists, and, inevitably, laws were passed 
to govern the taking of fish. 

Laws were enacted for the same reasons 
most societies need laws: because of greed, 
laziness, or just plain stupidity. In 1678 
Middlesex County passed a law prohibiting 
the taking offish at night using gigs or harp- 
ing irons. It seems that some local "sports" 

had been using lanterns to spot fish in shal- 
low water and then gigging them, "wound- 
ing four times more than they can take" and 
thus ruining the fishing for those who use 
hook and line, the complaint charged. 

As the population along the bay be- 
came more dense, it became necessary to 
pass laws to define rights previously unques- 
tioned. In 1679 Robert Liny complained to 
the General Assembly that he had cleared 
riverfront land on his property in order to 
fish his seines. Some of his neighbors were 
taking advantage, using Liny's property to 

haul their own seines, claiming that the water 
was His Majesty's and that His Majesty's sub- 
jects had the right to fish it. The Assembly 
ruled that the property owner's right ex- 
tended to the low water mark, and that while 
the neighbors had every right to haul their 
seine in the river, they had no right to come 
ashore on Liny's property above the low 
water mark without his permission. 

What was probably the first law regulat- 
ing hunting was passed in 1 705, after the seat 
of government had been transferred to 
Williamsburg. The Assembly prohibited the 
sale offish within a five-mile radius outside of 
towns in an effort to promote fish markets in 
towns and to focus commercial development 
there. The same legislation also prohibited 
hunting on private land without a license. 
The license, in this case, was not obtained 
from the state, but from the landowner him- 
self. The penalty for noncompliance was 
steep: 500 pounds of tobacco. C 

Curtis Badger, whose most recent book is 
A Natural History of Quiet Waters (UVA Press), 
has written widely about natural history and 
wildlife art. He lives on Virginia's Eastern Shore. 

Next month: market hunting, shorebird 
shooting, hunt dubs, laws, manners, and 
the ritual of the hunt. 


Courtesy of the National Park Service 

Sturgeon and sheepshead are among 
the fish species mentioned in great 
abundance in early accounts of the 
Chesapeake Bay. 


Tucked deeply in tlie heart of southwest Virginia, the 
slow moving C^linch River winds its way in and out ot 
tlie Blue Ridge Mountains. It roams through these 
foothills and slows down time, reminding us to appreciate the 
sights and sounds of a forgotten era when coal once pimiped life 
into what are now ghost towns, and when small general stores — 
now chipped, gray, and hoarded over — provided everything 
from shoe polish to lemonade. For some, this river has become 

more than a landmark or a body of water. For some it has become a 
way of life. 

As the water passes over shoal and eddy, you begin to under- 
stand this way of life, how it can move a man in the depths of his 
soul. One such man was Jeff Owen. 

Ihc C^linch River captured the heart of Jeff as a young boy in 
the "SOs. He went fishing with his father, and k)ved the thrill of the 
catch. C^irowing up in Cleveland, Virginia, Jeff was always near 


the river. From childhood on, he spent countless hours wading the 
waters of the Clinch. As time continued, this hobby that had capti- 
vated him became a passion. As with so many, the Clinch River had 
stolen a part of his heart, and transformed a pastime into a lifestyle. 
Jeff Owen was a great fisherman. He had fervor for catching 
smallmouth bass, or smallies, unlike any other. Over the years, this 
desire produced a brilliant talent for catching these beautiful fish. 
Many would say that this passion led to a "blessing" from the 

Clinch. Jeff could catch fish when all oth- 
ers had failed. Once, on a Saturday after- 
noon, Jeff and his son-in-law, Dustan, 
headed to Nash's Ford, a popular destina- 
tion on the Clinch. After a couple of hours 
of fishing in the same spot with identical 
bait, Jeff had already reeled in around 15 
smallies while Dustan was still looking for 
that first elusive bite. Dustan, slightly frus- 
trated but more amazed, turned and said, 
"Jeff, you've got the Clinch River anoint- 
ing." Jeff just laughed and continued fish- 

As is common with any passion, Jeff 
developed his own idiosyncrasies and his 
own style ot fishing the Clinch River. He 
was a great believer in seining hell- 
grammites, the only proper bait for river 
fishing, and he collected them in a slightly- 
dented, tin bait can he kept attached to his 
belt. I still remember him drawing the 
wriggling bait from his hip, like a pirate 
sorting through the spoils of a gold pouch. 
And he was as orthodox about the gear as 
he was about the bait. Jeff dared not plunk 
out-of-the-package sinkers into the water 
before lining them out on cardboard and 
spray painting the gleaming silver to a nice 
flat black. He swore the fish could see those 
sparkly sinkers. Whether or not this is true, 
and whether or not his friends snickered 
(they did), many a man would begin to 
cake down a black can of spray paint before 
the first line was cast — out of pride or para- 

There are other quirks some of us 
know about Jeff. Like most, he loved to 
catch a fish and eat it; he loved the primal 
sense a man gets from providing for his 
family because of his conquests in nature; 
and he loved bringing home a full cooler 
for his wife's admiration. But he had a soft 
spot for fish most fishermen never have, 
and his method slowly became one of 
catch-and-release. Beyond the actual re- 
lease, Jeff developed a sense of respect for 
the fish. He felt as if the fish told a story 
with its color, size, and markings. He only 
kept the fish he intended to eat, and these 
were never the large fish. In his eyes, some 
fish were too big to keep. He said that they 
had been around too long and had seen too 
much. He was certain that over the years, 
he caught the same fish from the same ? 
spots over and over. Once, Jeff pulled a fish 
out of the Clinch that had a speckled, hairy > 
lure already lotlged in its throat. Jeff recog- ® 

nized it as one of his own. He smiled at the 
honor, removed both plugs, and let the fish 


Unlike most fishermen, Jeff loved to 

fish the winter months. Many days when 
the temperature was below freezing, Jeff 
would be headed out with his boat. He 
would come back with stories that would 
make any man envious. I remember talking 
to Jeff on a cold Sunday in January. He was 
asking about fishing, and 1 made the com- 
ment that I couldn't wait for spring. 
"Spring? " he replied, "No, now is when you 
catch the big ones. " He then went on to tell 
me about catching two 5-pound-plus 
smallmouth bass earlier in the week. 

always stop to appreciate the unique beauty 
of the river's mussels. He understood the 
importance of taking care of the river. He 
made it a point to spread knowledge and 
appreciation for the abundance of life laid 
before him. 

Later in life, Jeff developed multiple 
sclerosis, or MS. Over the course of a few 
years, he began to lose the feeling and mo- 
bility in his legs. However, for a man like 
Jeff, this did not stop his pursuit of the 
Clinch. He loved the smell, the sound, and 
the feel of this ancient water. As MS began 
to take more and more mobility from the 
man, he refused to surrender this love. Fre- 
quently, he would drive down to the river- 

He only kept the fish he intended to eat, and these were never the large fish. 
In his eyes, some fish were too big to keep. He said that they had been 
around too long and had seen too much. 

ft wasn't just the sport of his small cos- 
mos on the Clinch that captivated Jeff. He 
was interested in the preservation and con- 
servation of the entire river. He could name 
the streams that fed the Clinch, and follow 
the bodies of water the Clinch flowed into 
all the way to the Gulf as if reading from a 
memorized map in his mind. Jeff prided 
himself on the reputation of endangered 
mussels in the river, which is home to ap- 
proximately 50 such species, with multiple 
on the federal endangered species list. It is 
no surprise that a lifetime of seining hell- 
grammites often led to the accidental catch 
of mussels. Years of catching these creatures 
sparked an interest. Later in his life, he be- 
came more interested in the mussel popula- 
tion of the Clinch and avidly studied and 
searched for these rare findings. Jeff would 

bank, grab his chair, and stumble out into 
the water. Here he would sit for hours and 
feel the cool river run beneath him. 

Jeft Owen spent his life alongside the 
Clinch River: from the early days of skip- 
ping stones and playing softball on the 
riverbank, to the many afternoons he would 
spend later in life on the Clinch, from sun- 
down to near-darkness. Whether he was 
fishing, seining, telling fish stories with 
friends, or just breathing the river air, this 
slow moving river shaped Jeffs life. 

He was a sage among men and made 
the world a better place for having lived in 
it. I do believe that the Clinch is a way of 
life, and Jeff lived it to the fullest. D 

]ustm Honaker is a graduate of Radford University 
who enjoys hiking, fishing, kayaking, caving, and 
other outdoor activities. 


Will Virginia's 

Birds Adapt? 

story by Glenda C. Booth 
llustrotions by Spike Knuth 

Northern pintails 

Some waterfowl are stopping in 
the Great Lakes instead of 
flying to their historic Virginia 
wintering grounds, and fewer are wintering 
in the Chesapeake Bay. Some phmts in 
Virginia are moving to higher altitudes and 
latitudes. The water temperature at which 
many Chesapeake Bay fish spawn or begin 
migration, 59° Fahrenheit, is occurring 
earlier than it did 30 years ago. 

What's happening? Greenhouse gas 
emissions are trapping heat in the 
atmosphere at imprecedented rates, causing 
climate change, a phenomenon that is 
changing habitats and animal behavior say 
scientists from Ducks Unlimited to the 
National Academy of Sciences. 

Ducks Unlimited (DU) biologists 
Dawn Browne and Randy Dell put it this 
way: "It is widely accepted by the scientific 

community that the earth, which has always 
experienced climate variation, is now 
undergoing a period of rapid climate 
change that is enhanced by anthropogenic 
atmospheric carbon enrichment during the 
past 100 years." They project extensive 
warming, changing precipitation patterns, 
rising seas, changes in the seasons' timing 
and length, declining snow packs, and 
increasingly frequent and intense weather 

In 2007, DU scientists warned that 
climate change is harming waterfowl in all 
four flyways. "The nation's duck hunters 
have a stake in the complex issue of climate 
change, and future hunting opportunities 
will rely on our collective ability to 
accurately assess, predict, and manage the 
impacts to waterfowl and their habitats," 
says DU's website. 

Global warming is a "triple threat to 
waterfowl hunting, " a 2007 National Wild- 
life Federation (NWF) study reported, 
because prairie pothole breeding areas will 
dry up, some birds will stop in ice-free areas 
farther north, and those that make it to 
Virginia will find less shallow water habitat. 

Every species occupies a specific 
niche — defined by habitat, food, and 
temperature range. Many animals cannot 
adapt to rapid changes in those conditions. 
And those that can move may be limited by 
development, by agricultural practices, and 
by habitat loss. 

Nationally, nearly one-third of 800 
bird species are endangered, threatened, or 
in significant decline and climate change 
could "dramatically alter their habitat and 
food supply and push many species towards 
extinction," announced U.S. Department 
of Interior Secretary Ken Salazar in releasing 
the 2010 "State of the Birds" report in 
March. That analysis echoes the 2007 
warning from Ducks Unlimited scientists, 
who reported that climate change harms 
waterfowl because of adverse impacts on 
water in breeding grounds and coastal 
habitats in all four flyways. 

Changes in Virginia 

Climate change is altering the natural world 
in Virginia, concluded Virginia's Com- 
mission on Climate Change in 2008, an 
appointed body that called for action. 
Commissioners predicted, "... suitable 
habitat for some species will decline, other 


species will become extirpated and other 
species will become extinct. " 

Take the Chesapeake Bay where, every 
year, over one million ducks, geese, and 
swans stop over or spend the winter. 
"Average air temperatures in the region have 
increased by 1.4° Fahrenheit along the 
coastal margins of the Chesapeake Bay 
through Maine over the past century, and 
much of the region has seen about a 10 
percent increase in average precipitation, 
with greater precipitation extremes," reports 
NWP. The bay's average water temperature 
went up about 1 .4° to 2° Fahrenheit between 
the 1950s and 2000; sea level has risen; and 
some marshes and small islands have been 
flooded, says NWF. 

Climate change is affecting birds in 
several ways. 

Shifting Ranges, 

Changing conditions can influence the range 
and distribution of birds as they seek suitable 
habitat, food, and temperatures. Some birds 
can move out of areas no longer suitable; 
others cannot. 

Warming temperatures encourage some 
birds to move to more hospitable northern 
latitudes in the winter and cause some 
species to move farther inland. The brant, 
ring-necked duck, and American goldfinch 
have moved about 200 miles north over the 
past four decades; the red-breasted mergan- 
ser, 300 miles north; the American black 
duck, 182 miles north; and the green- 
winged teal, 157 miles north, according to 
National Audubon Society scientists. 

I.akes and rivers throughout the 
northern hemisphere are freezing an 
average of six days later than they did 100 
years ago," NWF experts say, so some 
waterfowl, like tundra swans and canvas- 
backs, are "short-stopping," they add. 

Sea level rise and warmer waters will 
strain submerged aquatic vegetation — a 
critical food source for many ducks and 
geese. Higher water levels reduce sunlight 
that seagrasses need. Species like redheads, 
northern pintails, American wigeon, 
American black ducks, ruddy ducks, and 
canvasbacks could move or be stressed. 

Some neotropical migrant species 
could face a loss of 22 percent in the 
Southeast, with goldfinches disappearing 
from Virginia except for a discrete section 
of the Appalachian Mountains, reports the 
American Bird Conservancy. 

Vanisi^ing Hal3itats 

Habitats that cannot tolerate warmer 
temperatures could vanish or deteriorate. 

In the Midwest's pothole "duck 
factory," less rain and more evaporation 
could cause wetlands to dry up. The 
Department of Interior (DOI) pointed 
out, "... wetland-dependent breeding 
birds that use them [potholes] appear 
acutely threatened, especially in the north- 
central states." 

NWF concurred: "More droughts 
could dry up as much as 90 percent of the 
Midwest's pothole wetlands, leading to an 
almost 60 percent decline in breeding 
waterfowl." The prairie potholes are where 

Seaside Sparrow 


Virginia Wildlife Action Plan 

Virginia's Strategy for Safeguarding Species of 
Greatest Conservation Need from the Effects 
of Climate Change, 

The Waterfowlers Guide to Global Warming, 
ducks. cfm 

Sportsman's Advisory Group on 
Climate Change, 

The State of the Birds: 2010 Report on 
Climate Change, 

Global Warming and Virginia, 
Fact sheet at 

Black ducks 

JANUARY 2011 15 

many wintering Chesapeake Bay ducks get 
their start in life, ducks hke redheads and 

Grasslands, too, may become dry and 
inhospitable to grassland birds like 
bobolinks and dickcissels that cannot adapt, 
says the DOI study. 

As for forest habitats. Eastern hemlock 
forests could see the expansion of the 
hemlock woolly adelgid, a sapsucking insect 
introduced from Japan in the 1950s that 
lacks natural predators. Entire hemlock 
ecosystems could disappear, NWF author- 
ities predict. They are home to the ruffed 
grouse, pileated woodpeckers, 
yellow-bellied sapsuckers, 
goldfinches, crossbills, 
and grosbeaks. 

Ruffed grouse 

Birds that live at high altitudes may not 
be able to move. Isolated locations, like 
Virginia's high-elevation spruce-fir forests, 
could become unsuitable for the plants and 
animals currently there. These populations 
could be wiped out. 

How about wetland birds? Sea-level 
rise will flood or fragment marshes, beaches, 
barrier islands, and mudflats. William and 
Mary scientists Michael Wilson and Bryan 
Watts wrote that sea level rise will have 
"profound consequences on the near-shore 
biological communities of the world." 
Wetland-dependent birds are especially 
impacted because they are "spatially 
restricted to a narrow band between marine 
and terrestrial environments," the scientists 
say. The American oystercatcher and salt- 
marsh sparrow, for example, rely upon 
low-elevation coastal habitats. 

Wilson and Watts predict that salt 
marshes will be one of the first habitats to 
be consumed by rising waters. They main- 
tain that sea level rise of 1.3 feet could 
reduce marsh bircl populations by 35—42 
percent for the clapper rail, Virginia rail, 
willet, marsh wren, and seaside sparrow. 
A 1- to 2-meter rise could reduce their 
numbers by 80 percent by the year 
2100. They forecast possible extirpa- 
tion of species that rely upon high 
marsh patches. Northern pintails 
travel south in winter, expecting to 
feed in tidal flats on snails and 
small crabs, but they may find these 
areas inundated, simply gone. 

Mismatched Timing 

Birds' migration, reproduction, breeding, 
nesting, and hatching are highly adapted to 
match certain conditions such as the 
availability of food. Climate change can 
affect the timing of life cycle events that are 
driven by cues from the environment, 
especially temperature. 

For example, the arrival dates of 20 
species of migratory birds were up to 21 
days earlier in 1994 than in 1965. Birds like 
the rose-breasted grosbeak, black-throated 
blue warbler, and barn swallow were among 
those impacted, the American Bird 
Conservancy (ABC) found. Tree swallows 
are nesting up to nine days earlier than they 


did 30 years ago. "These changes may be 
occurring regardless of whether the birds' 
arrival is synchronized with the availability 
oi food sources such as insects, flowers, and 
berries at their destination habitat," 
maintains ABC. 

Seabirds breeding on coasts may be 
unsuccessful in raising chicks if hatch dates 
do not match food availability. It migrating 
shorebirds that stop on the Atlantic coast 
find fewer invertebrates, they may be unable 
to gain enough weight to reach their 
northern breeding grounds. Warmer tem- 
peratures will cause shorter winters, altering 
the timing of vegetation growth patterns 
which could reduce food and cover at 
critical points in duck and goose life cycles. 
In other words, nature's synchronization 
could be thrown off. 

Some Cannot Adapt 

Some birds can adapt to change by moving 
to more hospitable areas, but other birds 
cannot. Species that require a narrow or 
limited habitat are often of greatest 
conservation need. Examples: The black rail 
can only survive in coastal habitats; the red 
crossbill can only survive at high elevations; 
oceanic birds nest on islands. Flooded 
islands become vanished islands. All 67 
oceanic bird species are among the most 
vulnerable because they nest on islands and 
do not raise many young each year. 

What Can We Do? 

Addressing climate change requires action 
by government, by industry, and by individ- 
uals. Reducing greenhouse gas emissions; 
conserving habitats; protecting bird prey 

bases and food supplies; and removing 
threats like invasive plants and animals will 
help. A major effort to restore grasslands, 
wetlands, forests, and other types of habitat 
could go a long way toward saving 
"Virginia's " birds. 

The Department has published two 
blueprints, the Wildlife Action Plan and the 
Strategy for Safeguarding Wildlife from 
Climate Change, available online. In these 
documents are listed 96 species of greatest 
conservation need and at risk because of 
degrading habitat — birds like the American 
black duck, Northern bobwhite, redhead, 
brant, American woodcock, and peregrine 

Climate change adds "another suite of 
stresses to Virginia's habitats ... making it 
that much more difficult to preserve 
Virginia's wildlife heritage," says the 
strategy. Virginia should take steps such 
as linking isolated populations, conserving 
and restoring native species and habitats, 
strengthening data and modeling, and 
expanding education. 

"Conservation will be difficult, but not 
impossible, " Virginia's plan challenges. □ 

Glenda C. Booth, a freelance writer, grew up in 
Southwest Virginia and has lived in Northern 
Virginia over 30 years, where she is active in 
conservation efforts. 

Barn swallow 


/always welcome the opportunity to try something new 
outdoors, especially when it is less than a few hours 
down the road and involves tossing out a few decoys 
and waiting for ducks to come in. So when the opportunity 
presented itself to hunt sea ducks in the Chesapeake Bay, I 
jumped on it quickly. The fact that I was going to hunt with 
some serious waterfowlers I had never hunted with before 
seemed an added bonus. 

With Christmas just a few days behind, we set a date to 
hunt the bay on December 28th. As usual, I was relegated to 
the couch the night before the trip. I don't make a lot of 
friends around the house when the morning alarm goes off at 
3:30 and I wake the entire family. I might not sleep quite as 
well on the couch, but the mere fact that I am down there 
means I am excited by the prospects of the following day. This 
morning was no different. I was out the door and headed east 
by 4:15. 

I met up with Eric Rutherford and Brian Watkins in Po- 
quoson. We piled into Brian's truck and headed to the boat 
ramp where we would meet Doug Biggs, an avid waterfowler 
who had driven his sea duck rig up from Bracey, near Lake 
Gaston. Brian and Eric went to school together at Virginia 

Tech and have been friends ever since. I had hunted with Eric 
the year before in Abingdon, but this was my first time meeting 
Brian, a well recognized and respected duck call maker and 
champion caller (see feature in December 2010 issue). 

We reached the ramp a little early, stepping out of the truck 
and immediately noting a cold breeze blowing from the west. 
The forecast was for heavy winds to pick up after sunrise, and 
we were just hopeful we could hunt for a few hours. Doug 
Biggs arrived a few minutes later after his 2V2-hour drive from 
southern Virginia. His entrance left litde doubt that he is a man 
serious about hunting sea ducks. Behind his truck he was tow- 
ing what looked like a war machine, and I guess in a way it is. 
His customized 21 -foot Ocean, by Duck Water Boats Inc., was 
made to do one thing and one thing only: hunt sea ducks. 
Quickly loading guns and gear, we launched the boat and were 
on our way toward open water as the sun began to peek over the 

After just a ten-minute ride into the bay, we were ready to 
set out our rig and give things a shot. We laid four lines of 
scoter decoys and anchored the boat. I have spent many, many 
mornings in marshes and beaver swamps hunting puddle 
ducks, but hunting big water like this was completely new to me. 


photos by Eric Rutherfor 




n^ • J. 

1^ * 

I was excited and intrigued. Within a few 
minutes, several black shapes appeared just 
above the water and maybe 100 yards 
downwind of the decoys. We hunkered 
down in the boat and Doug began waving a 
small black flag. The birds banked into the 
wind on command and gUded just over the 
furthest of the decoys. Brian and I raised 
our guns and fired several shots each. The 
birds continued on their way unscathed. So 
the day began... sea ducks one, himters zero. 

Doug is a utiHty contractor when he is 
not chasing ducks. He began hunting sea 
ducks about five years ago when Lake Gas- 
ton and other areas where he used to hunt 
puddle ducks started getting too crowded. 
The first time he came up, he and a friend 
located a few birds and immediately went to 
Bass Pro Shops and purchased some cheap 
mallard decoys along with some black 

"We spent the whole evening in our 
hotel room painting those mallard decoys 
black," Doug said, laughing. Back then they 
hunted from a 16-foot boat designed more 
for fishing. "We killed ducks though," 
Doug acknowledged. "Mainly we came up 
here to get away from the crowds," a state- 
ment that made perfect sense as 1 scanned 

the horizon for birds, seeing nothing but 
water in all directions. Now Doug makes 
the trip up to hunt sea ducks ten or twelve 
times a year. 

It wasn't long before more birds 
showed up. A single surf scoter slid into the 
decoys. I fired and missed again. Fortu- 
nately Doug backed me up, dropping the 
drake with a single shot. The most distin- 
guishing aspect of the drakes is their color- 
ful beak, which is a mixture of red, yellow, 
and white. Most of what constitute "sea 
ducks" in Virginia are scoters. While there 
are three difi^erent types, white wing, surt, 
and common, most of what we saw this day 
were surf scoters. We did spot one flock of 
white wings, but they were unwilling to give 
us a look. Oldsquaw, also referred to as 
long-tailed ducks or "suddelins," as Brian 
convinced us was their common name 
among those living around the bay, also 
show up in decent numbers in the winter. 
We saw a handful this morning but, again, 
none were willing to commit to our spread. 

After an hour and only the one bird to 
show for it, we picked up the gear and made 
a move a few miles up the bay. We kicked a 
couple hundred birds off a shallow flat, 
where they had congregated to feed on 

Setting and retrieving decoys in the bay 
during the winter months is not for the 

Duck Water Boats Inc. makes 
custom duck boats for every 
hunting scenario. For more infor- 
mation, check out their website: 




-._. .^-....tfisj^^ 

With a little black paint, these mallard decoys were transformed into a more 
seafaring species, resembling a surf scoter (below). 

clams and aquatic invertebrates, and set the groups, decoying better at this spot, to 

spread again to see if they would trickle within 20 yards on some occasions, 
back. It took about another hour but, even- One good thing about shooting at a 

tually, they started coming in singles and group of birds with a few other people is 

that it makes it easier to convince yourself 
that you are hitting them too. Tliere may 
have been a little of that going on this morn- 
ing. 1 am not sure I was fooling anyone other 
than me, however. Toward the middle of the 
day, a single came in and I downed it with 
one shot. As Brian pulled it from the net we 
used to pick up the birds, he held it up, jok- 
ingly saying, "We'll put this one to the side 
since we know you actually killed it." We all 

It wasn't long before we had a dozen 
scoters in the boat. With the wind freshen- 
ing, we decided to call it a day — which 
turned out to be a good decision. By the time 
we reached the ramp, waves were spraying 
over the front of the boat and the tempera- 
ture had dropped 10 to 15 degrees. Al- 
though Doug considered it a slow day in 
terms of numbers, I considered it a success, 
as is any day spent outdoors with a good 
group of folks (some might add, crazy) who 
would rather be there than anywhere else, 
huddled in a boat, bracing against a cold 
wind, waiting for a duck to show up. □ 

Tee Clarkson is an English teacher at Deep Run 
High School in Henrico Co. and runs Virginia 
Fishing Adventures, a fishing camp for kids: 
tsclarkson @virginiafishingadventures. com. 

* li^'-y.^ 



'', -Wi 

Story and photos by John Ross 

It moving from one house to another is not one of the 
ten most stressful events in lite — and it isn't, accord- 
ing to a recent report from the U.S. Surgeon Gen- 
eral — it ought to be. Three months after my move from 
Upperville to Abingdon, I'm still surrounded by clusters of 
half-opened boxes. 

I know where my fly-fishing gear lurks because the 
freshwater tackle lives in a single duffel that's never far from 
sight. That green bag carries my working rods (all 5 or 6 
section models), reels, vest, waders, and boots. But some- 
where else is a mover's box that contains those 6-inch rabbit 

fur streamers 1 need lor gargantuan winter browns. Maybe 
the grinch who superintends the mound oi stuff in the 
garage will cough it up for the holidays. 

The gun cabinet now holds rifles and shotguns, all of 
which arrived safe and sound. And packed away, one of 
those GI surplus tins that first held 20mm ammo are shells 
for my 16 and 20 gauges and rounds for my go-to deer ri- 
fles, a .257 Roberts and .30/'06. By the time you read this, 
I'll have either found the cartridges or be dining on ground 
turkey. Venison, I much prefer. 

More than 500,000 Virginians moved from one 
county to another in 2009. Another 260,000 moved to 
Virginia from a difl^erent state. If you hunt or fish as I do. 


learning your way around a new neck of the woods is fun, 
especially if a rod or shotgun is safely tucked in the trunk 
and your binoculars and bird books are close at hand. 

Maps, of course, are indispensible. The official Vir- 
ginia transportation map carries a wealth of information. 
Terrain is represented by shaded relief These maps are 
free at most visitor rest-stops along Interstates and down- 
loadable online. 

I've always been a fan of topographic maps produced 
by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). The agency's 7.5- 
minute series — which most of us know as USGS "quads" 
for quadrangle — feature contour lines usually set at 20- 
foot intervals. Today, thanks to Survey's National Map 

Left spread, Whitetop Mountain in late October. 

Above, author's new home is south of Abingdon's 1-81 exit 14. 

JANUARY 2011 23 

A view of the author's new community, Abingdon, as seen from a light plane. That 
excursion revealed much about the South Fork Holston watershed and its exemplary 
trout streams (below). 

Project, individual quads can be down- 
loaded for free. 

These aren't just copies of the old or 
updated paper maps. Google Earth made 
aerial photos of the country readily avail- 
able to anyone with access to a computer. 
U.S. Topo quads meld aerial photography 
with contour lines and a host of other in- 
formation, including everything from the 
old 7.5-minute paper series. A set of but- 
tons on the left side lets you select features 
you want to see and turn the others off. 

If you download accompanying tree 
software from terraGo Technologies and 
purchase Adobe Acrobat X Pro, you can 
add notes, measure distances, and inte- 
grate your maps with your GPS tracking 
systems and other hand-held devices. 
Scanning aerial photography on U.S. 
Topo maps and on Google Earth can give 
you the feeling of seeing your new home, 
surrounding community, and countryside 
beyond as if you were actually flying. 

But not quite. I was a lucky kid. As a 
pilot instructor during World War II, my 
dad had to log a certain number of hours 
each year to maintain his Air Force Re- 
serve standing. He'd check-out a Piper 
Cub and take me and my brother on 
flights over our neighborhood. From the 
air, we saw how our grandparents' farm 
edged the bluff over the river and how 
close our house really was to the school. (I 
thought it was a long walk.) Soon after 
moving to Abingdon, I arranged a flight in 
a light plane. I wanted to see for myself 
how the South Holston and Whitetop wa- 
tersheds fit together and to develop an 
overall sense of where tributaries feed the 
main stems. 

Turned out the pilot, Johnny White, 
was an angler. He knew the streams I 
wanted to see. On a glorious Saturday, we 
lifted off from Virginia Highlands airport 
and headed down to the South Holston 
tailwater east of Bristol, Tennessee. 
Following the river upstream we crossed 
the dam, flew up the lake, turned east over 
the South Fork, and picked up Whitetop 
Laurel below Damascus. From the air, the 
stream and the Virginia Creeper Trail 
alongside are clearly visible. The view con- 
vinced me to buy a bike to access the runs 
most distant from the road. 

The head of the watershed gave way 
to Mount Rogers and Grayson Highlands 


A brief flight in a private plane may seem extravagant, but there is no better way to quickly learn the landscape and all that it has to offer. 


Virginia Department of Transportation U. S. Geological Survey Google Earth 

State Park. On the park's balds, I could see 
ponies, and the terrain resembled the vast 
Canadian tundra. I made myself a promise 
to hike those high, brushy meadows, partic- 
ularly in winter when hoar frost turns each 
branch into an icy weathervane and the air 
is so clear you can see all the way to Abing- 
don. Returning, we flew down the upper 
South Fork and circled the gorge down- 
stream from the swinging Appalachian Trail 

Tve never fished the gorge but have 
heard many stories about the wild rainbows 
therein. The U.S. Forest Service and the De- 
partment (DGIF) have plans to build an ac- 
cess trail from Teas Road to the road that 
comes out at Buller hatchery. I wanted to 
see the site so Til understand it better when I 
fish the gorge and work on the project. 

Reading this, you may blanch a bit at 
spending $ 1 50 to hire a pilot and a plane for 
an hour or so. Consider this: You'll spend 
easily that much for a day at a theme park. 
Wouldn't it be great to take your kids for a 
real ride in the sky over the place to which 
they've just moved? You'll enjoy it too. 

Clerks at shops where hunting and 
fishing and hiking and biking gear are sold 
are fonts ol information. John Trivette at 
Highlands Ski and Outdoor told me about 
the Salt Trail rails-to-trails project that links 
Glade Spring with Saltville and said it 
might be more suitable for youth and those 
physically challenged than the Virginia 
Creeper Trail. I'll have to take a look. 

When asked about places to sight-in 
my hunting rifles, Jerry Coleman and Allen 
Orr at Mahoney's of Abingdon suggested 1 
check out Kettlefoot Rod & Gun Club near 
Bristol and the public range at Jacoby Creek 
off U.S. 421. Kettlefoot is a first-class facil- 
ity with separate high power, rimfire, hand- 
gun, and trap, skeet and sporting clays 
ranges. The range at Jacoby Creek contains 
stations for targets at 25, 50, and 100 yards. 

Bruce Wankel ol the Virginia Creeper 
Fly Shop and his colleague. Tommy Cook, 
offer accurate where-to-go and what-to-use 
advice. In similar vein, check out the re- 
gional DGIF office and visit nearby state 
parks and local forest service and national 
park headquarters. 

In many communities, fall or spring ex- 
positions for hunters and anglers provide the 
opportunity to meet guides, vendors, and 
leaders of outdoor sports groups that are 
eager for new members. When moving to a 
new area, don't forget to see if the con- 
servation organizations to which you belong 
have chapters nearby. The local chamber of 
commerce, convention and visitors' bureau, 
library, and regional historical society are 
rich with ideas about things to see and do. 

Moving across the state is hard work: 
settling kids into new schools, beginning a 
new job, selecting new banks and docs and 
dentists, choosing new churches and grocers 
and auto mechanics — not to mention put- 
ting away all that stuff you're now wishing 
you'd left behind. So much to do. Will it 
ever end? I suppose, but I need a break. I 
think of my excursions into new terrain as 
mini-vacations, ripe with the promise of 
great hunting and fishing to come. - 

Former chair of the Virginia Council of Trout 
UnUmited, John Ross is a writer living in Abingdon. 
His most recent book is Rivers of Restoration (Skyhorse 
Publishing, 2008). 

JANUARY 2011 25 





-• VI 

- i ■ , 



»--.^-. <;j^ 










i. ^-^'^J^tfi 

'/ "^ 


by Jenny West 

The Virginia Department of Game 
and Inland Fisheries (DGIF) has a 
lot of friends, and in financially tight 
times, it's especially important to be able to 
count on your friends. In response to un- 
precedented challenges and out of necessity, 
DGIF is exploring creative and unconven- 
tional ways of doing "business as usual." 
Unfortunately, the constraints of a state 
agency framework can make it difficult, if 
not impossible, for DGIF to quickly and ef- 
ficiently pursue new and exciting opportu- 
nities. That's what friends are for. 

Last March, the DGIF board of direc- 
tors signed a Memorandum of Under- 
standing with the Wildlife Foundation of 
Virginia (WFV), establishing a unique 
partnership that will help move the agency 
and the foundation forward in achieving 
common goals. Fhe purpose of the part- 
nership is to develop new or enhanced 
fundraising opportunities in order to im- 
plement projects related to habitat manage- 
ment, hunting, fishing, and boating. DGIF 
and WFV also are committed to helping 
strengthen each other organizationally, 
through shared stafF development initia- 
tives, capital facilities projects, and educa- 
tion, marketing, and outreach efforts. The 
partnership will leverage public and private 
resources and capabilities to open new 
funding streams, which will enhance the 
ability of both organizations to do their 

llic foundation was established in 
1997 as a private, not-for-profit 501 (c)3 to 
promote outdoor recreation in Virginia. In 
the face of rapid land development, escalat- 
ing property values, and competition span- 
ning everything from electronic experiences 
to organized sports, the foundation's goal is 

The Wildlife Foundation of Virginia and other 
partners were instrumental in the acquisition 
of 4200 acres of land in Rockbridge and Bote- 
tourt counties, to be managed by DGIF as the 
Short Hills WMA. 

Ups that Work for You 

You can reach Jenny West of The 
Wildlife Foundation of Virginia, at 

pretty simple: WFV wants to make sure that 
those who want to hunt, fish, hike, or just 
soak in the commonweakh's unique natural 
resources have the opportunity and land to 
do so. It's a tall ortler, but with friends like 
DGIF, it's achievable. 

WFV owns 1,910 acres in Albemarle 
County, known as Fulfillment Farms, which 
are managed lor no-fee public use. Many of 
the educational and sporting events spon- 
sored by the foundation take place on this 
property, and priorities are straightforward. If 
you want to hunt with a young person at Ful- 
fillment Farms, you get priority over other 
hunters. Through the generosity of several 
private individuals and organizations, foun- 
dation board members and volunteers have 
constructed wheelchair-accessible hunting 
blinds throughout the farm, making hunting 
an option for those with special physical chal- 
lenges. In partnership with DGIF, Fulfill- 
ment Farms is now a quail demonstration 
area. Habitat initiatives in open lands and 
woods are designed to benefit quail, as well as 
many other species. These habitat improve- 
ments have begun to pay off, and the farm 
was available for two days during the 2010- 
11 season for a combination quail/rabbit 
hunt, under the DGIF quota hunt program. 
Each year, the foundation hosts several youth 
hunts and reserves opening day of general 
firearms season for kids. DGIF lends re- 

sources and technical assistance to these 
programs, which helps both organizations 
fulfill their missions. 

Over the past decade, WFV and 
DGIF have collaborated on several projects, 
many of which involved leveraging the 
foundation's private resources and maneu- 
verability to acquire lands identified by 
DGIF as priority acquisitions. With the 
ability to pursue funding avenues that are 
not available to DGIF as a state agency, the 
foundation has helped add acreage to exist- 
ing wildlife management areas such as the 
Rapidan, Saxis, Game Farm Marsh, and 
Hardware River. Most recently, the foun- 
dation worked with DGIF, the Virginia 
Outdoors Foundation, The Conservation 
Fund, and private individuals to establish 
the new 4,200-acre Short Hills Wildlife 
Management Area, located in Rockbridge 
and Botetourt counties. The foundation 
has provided scholarships to DGIF staff for 
professional development programs, 
worked with agency personnel on wildlife 
habitat improvement projects, and sup- 
ported special events such as the Spring 
Bass Challenge for Wounded Heroes and 
the Youth Wuerfowl Day at Hog Island 
WMA. These collaborative efforts raise 
awareness of the importance of our hunting 

and angling heritage, and have helped form 
the basis for a more formal and meaningful 

While the Memorandum of Under- 
standing was executed just short of a year 
ago, there are several important partnership 
initiatives underway that will continue to 
strengthen both organizations. DGIF and 
WFV are looking at "business as usual " a lit- 
tle differently DGIF has representation on 
the foundation's board of directors, and has 
designated a foundation liaison to maintain 
open lines of communication. The agency 
and the foundation are approaching pro- 
jects with a broader perspective in mind and 
asking the question, "How can this program 
be enhanced through partnership efforts?" 
It's a new and fresh approach to common 
programs and obstacles, and is necessary to 
meet changing and increased challenges 
head-on. DGIF and WFV will look for op- 
portunities to contribute to each other's ef- 
forts, to ensure that both organizations are 
sustainable, relevant, and meet constituents' 
needs. That's what friends are for. D 

Jetmy West is the Executive Director ofTlie Wildlife 
Foundation of Virginia. She and her husband, Phil, 
and tu'o sons live, niostly outdoors, on the banks oj the 
Chickahoniiny River in Lanexa. 

JANUARY 2011 27 

standing Up for Imperiled 
Fish and Wildlife 

by Chris Burkett 

Early in his administration, President George W. Bush 
worked with Congress to create State Wildhfe Grants. 
During the past ten years, this revolutionary program has 
provided Virginia with more than $1 1.8 million to help recover 
imperiled species and keep other species from becoming 
endangered within the commonwealth. With this money, the 
Department (DGIF) and its partners have made remarkable 
progress in conserving many of Virginia's species of greatest 
conservation need. 

Some oi the more noteworthy successes include: 
^ Creating and implementing a nationally recognized wildlife 
action plan to help keep species from becoming endangered; 

* Eradicating the invasive zebra mussel from Virginia's waters; 

* Creating the Cavalier Wildlife Management Area to help 
conserve dozens of nongame species while also providing new 
public hunting opportunities; 

Pioneering the captive propagation of Eastern hellbenders 
and spiny river snails at the Aquatic Wildlife Conservation 

* Working to safeguard nesting shorebirds and diamondback 
terrapins trom predators on the Eastern Shore; 

' Creating and implementing one of the nation's first strategies 
to safeguard wildlife from the effects of climate change; and 
Leading efforts to restore freshwater mussels to the Tennessee 
River watershed including the largest release of endangered 
mussels ever attempted. 

None of these projects would have been possible without the State 
Wildlife Grants program. In the coming decade, the challenges of 
habitat loss, invasive species, and new diseases will make this 
funding more important than ever. 

Virginia's Teaming With Wildlife coalition is a statewide 
collection of more than 160 conservation organizations and nature- 
based businesses, including the DGIE wildlife biologists, hunters 
and anglers, bird watchers, hikers, and others. Virginia's Teaming 
With Wildlife coalition is working to prevent wildlife from 
becoming endangered by supporting DGIF and efforts to increase 
funding for wildlife conservation, education, and nature-based 

To learn more, please visit D 

Chris Burkett is the Wildlife Action Plan Coordinator for the DGIF 

Hellbender ©Spike Knuth 



'^etk Verier 

Amphibians and Reptiles of the 
Carolinas and Virginia, 2'"' Edition 

by Beane, Braswell, Mitchell, Palmer 
& Harrison 

2010 The University of North 

Carolina Press 

Color photographs, tables and maps 

$25.00 paper, $55.00 Hardcover 

"Amphibians and reptiles play critical roles in 
natural systems, and many are highly bene- 
ficial to humans. Although these animals have 
long appealed to amateur naturalists as well as 
professional zoologists, their remarkable diver- 
sity of shapes, sizes, colors, patterns, ecologies 
and life histories remain poorly known to most 
of the public... we hope this volume will 
become a useful reference not only to 
herpetologists and biologists, but to all persofis 
concerned about the environment and quality 
of life in our region. " 

—The Authors 

Readers of Virginia Wildlife make up a good 
majority ot our state's hunters, anglers, and 
birdwatchers. Because many of our outdoor 
predilections require detailed observation of 
the natural world, many of us consider 
ourselves to be amateur naturalists. 

Often, we tend to focus the majority 
of our attentions on waterfowl, upland 
birds, turkey, deer, trout, panfish, wild- 
flowers, and easily identifiable insects, to the 
exclusion oi other equally interesting forms 
of life. Given the diversity of the amphi- 
bians and reptiles in our region, it's a shame 
that snakes, salamanders, frogs, and turtles 
sometimes take a bit of a back seat. 

This newly revised and expanded 
reference volume reflects the most current 
science and includes 30 new species, for a 
total of 189. Amphibians and reptiles tend 
to be rather secretive, unless one is actively 
seeking them out, but this handy reference 
guide makes identification a snap, and each 
entry is accompanied by a color photograph 
and range map. 

The authors thoughtfully included 
other helpful resources: tables of added 
species and scientific name changes, short 
essays on regional climate and vegetation, 
and lists of the featured reptiles and 
amphibians by class. However, the volume 
works its real magic by helping us change 
the way we view lizards and newts, opening 
our eyes to the "hidden" biodiversity that 
surrounds us on every side. D 

***************** Q^l_| Q rilOIT QQQ 

#VIR00022351 05/8#60 MAY1 ip 

P.O. BOX 11104 
RICMOND VA 23230-1104 

Reading Your Label 

Is it time to renew? If you are imcertain when your subscription expires, 
look for the expiration date in the circled location on the sample above. 

•Ik T-<r f 

2010 Limited Edition 
Virginia Wildlife 
Collector's Knife 

Our 2010 Collector's Knife has been 
customized by Buck Knives and features a 
bobwhite quail in flight. The elegant, solid 
cherry box features a field scene. Knives and 
boxes, made in USA. 

ltem#VW-410 $90.00 (plus $7.25 S&H) 

2009 Limited Edition 
Virginia Wildlife 
Collector's Knife 

Our 2009 Collector's Knife (customized by Buck 
Knives) features a wild turkey in full strut. The 
elegant, solid cherry box features a forest 
scene. Knives and boxes, made in USA. 


$85.00 (plus $7.25 S&H) 

Report Wildlife Violations 1-800-237-5712 

To Order visit the Department's website 


or call (804)367-2569. 

Please allow 3 to 4 weeks for delivery. 

JANUARY 2011 29 



^ that's still a bargain 

As always, the calendar features spectacular photography and useful infor- 
mation to the outdoors enthusiast, including hunting seasons, favorable 
hunting and fishing times, wildlife behavior, state fish records, and morel 

Make your check payable to 
"Treasurer of Virginia"and send to: 
Virginia Wildlife Calendar 
P.O. Box n 104 
Richmond, VA 23230-1104 

To pay by VISA or MasterCard, you may 
order online at 
on our secure site. Please allow 2 to 3 
weeks for delivery 

Virginia ['cparfiHcwt of Came and Inland Fisheries 

Outdoor Report 

MunuQinq und Conserving 
Our Wlldllft! and Natural K«aoureei 

For a free email subscription, 

visit our Web site at 

Click on the Outdoor Report linl< 
and simply fill in the required information. 

Answers to the December 2010 
"Byrd Nest" Crossword Puzzle 


[a L S A M 



L N G B 





















B R 

K 1 E 






























T L E 




B D 






T L 1 







1 T 

E C 






U N 

















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V E 



ra B 








E A 

S E 


Congratulations go to William Groah of Stuarts 
Draft for his gorgeous photograph of a waterfall 
in the St. Mary's Wilderness Area in Augusta 
County. Panasonic DIViC-FZ35 digital camera, 
ISO 80, 1 second, f/8.0. Beautiful! 

You are invited to submit one to five of your best 
photographs to "Image of the Month," Virginia 
Wildlife Magazine, P.O. Box 11104, 4010 West 
Broad Street, Richmond, VA 23230-1104. Send 
original shdes, super high-quahty prints, or high- 
res jpeg, tiff, or raw files on a disk and include a 
self-addressed, stamped envelope or other ship- 
ping method for return. Also, please include any 
pertinent information regarding how and where 
you captured the image and what camera and set- 
tings you used, along with your phone number. We 
look forward to seeing and sharing your work with 
our readers. 


The Lonesome Dove Hunt Club and 
Literary Society was in full session, 
reviewing the past seasons events. I ambled 
into the den just in time for the treasurer's 

"I am happy to report that there is a 
zero balance in the club's checking account, ' 
stated ol' Money, the club's accountant. "I 
am well aware how stressful it is on our 
members when there are funds in that 
account, and I remember vividly the argu- 
ments that arise as to how to appropriate' 
said funds. In the interest of full disclosure, 
however, there was an unexpected balance 
of approximately $100 to the plus side of 
the ledger. But I partially remedied that 
situation by making a discretionary 
purchase of an 18-year-old imported 
product from Scotland. The fruits of that 
expenditure — well, you are now enjoying 

"I think a vote of gratitude should be 
entered into the minutes of tonight's 
meeting," announced Doc Morrissette. 
"We are indeed fortunate to have such an 
astute and creative accountant willing to 
take quick and decisive action to promote 
harmony among the club's membership." 

"You said partially^^ stated ol' Jones, 
ever-diligent when it comes to the club's 
finances. "I know how much you like to 
work with zeros, but may I ask what 
happened to that remaining balance in the 
account? " 

"A purchase of goodwill, you might 
say," replied ol' Money. "You do recall that 
little incident with the local fire department 
after the last dove shoot? We were all cele- 
brating limiting out that day by smoking 
cigars and, because the field was so dry, all 
of a sudden we had an unprescribed burn 

on our hands. I thought a donation to the 
fire department was in order. It was a good 
thing the fire captain is a bird hunter, or we 
may have had some real explaining to do! " 

"Another wise spending decision!" 
stated Doc Morrissette. " . . . if only Congress 
could be so prudent. " 

"And while we are on the subject of 
wise and prudent decisions," continued the 
doctor, "I think it was a stroke of genius tor 
ol' Jones to send out a partial list ol the 
club's bylaws to the wives ol our members. 
The bylaw stating that all potential mem- 
bers of the Lonesome Dove Hunt Club and 
Literary Society must have a wife who is 
considered top-notch by all of the club's 
members in order to be a member of this 
august body was a masterful stroke!" 

or Jones just sat there quietly. 

"The other part of that same bylaw," 
added of Money, "states that the only way a 
member is asked to leave this club is when 
other members feel that a member's wife no 
longer meets the first qualification. All I 
have to do now is mention to my wife that 
we are having a membership vote at the next 
meeting — and things just start looking 
better all around. It was genius Jones, pure 

Again, ol' Jones remained withdrawn. 
"Gentlemen... you may need to prepare 
yourselves for a little shock. It seems I may 
have overplayed my hand, and your 
compliments — though appreciated — may 
be unwarranted," he interjected rather 
meekly. "You see I showed my wife the 
bylaws to gauge her reaction before sending 
them on to your wives. My bride took this 
requirement to heart and set out immed- 
iately to make some improvements. At first 
I was extremely pleased with the results. 

Over a month's time, she dropped two dress 
sizes and looks fantastic! In order to do that, 
however, she has joined a health club, taken 
up tennis, and cut back on dinner portions 
at the house when she is actually home to 
fix dinner." 

A pall of doom began to form over the 
membership. "On top ol that, do you rea- 
lize what happens when a woman loses two 
dress sizes? " Jones asked rhetorically. "Logic 
would dictate that she would go back to 
wearing all the clothes she has kept in the 
closet that she promised she would wear 
again someday. Gentlemen — that does not 
happen! It is olf to the boutiques and the 
mall to purchase clothing for the 'new' 
woman. And it is not just dresses, but shoes 
and accessories as well! I am alraid that in 
about a month's time, your credit card 
statements will reflect the true cost of our 
collective genius. 

"Sacrifices will have to be made. I have 
already cancelled my South Dakota phea- 
sant hunt; it looks like the quail hunt in 
Georgia is in jeopardy as well. And speaking 
of sacrifices, it looks like I am going to miss 
the next two meetings. Apparently, there is 
something else my wife feels needs improve- 
ment. She has enrolled me in something 
called Pilates! " 

Keep a leg up, 

Luke is a black Labrador retriever who spends his 
spare time hunting up good stories with his best 
friend, Clarke C. Jones. You can contact Luke and 
Clarke at www. clurkecjones. com. 

JANUARY 2011 31 



^ .^^^'^^ 





4 - New Moon 
10 - Deer Losing Antlers 
12 -Wintering Eagle Population Peaks 
1 5 - Great Horned Owls & Bald Eagles Begin Nesting 
19 -Full Moon 


2 - New Moon 

4 - Wood Ducks Looking for Nest Sites 

17 — Waterfowl Moving in Irom South 

1 8 - Full Moon 

24 - Bluebirds Seeking Nesting Sites 


4 - New Moon / Spotted Salamanders Migrate to Breeding Ponds 

15 - Purple Martins Arrive 

16 — Shad & Herring Move Up Tidal Rivers 

18 —Walleye Begin Spawning 

19 — Full Moon / Spring Hawk Migration Begins 

20 — Vernal Equinox 


Shorter, wintry days force many mammals — small 
and large — to forage later in the day and tuck in 
earlier at night. Those that move about may be 
doing so at a slower pace, but have to travel farther 
to acquire their next meal. Our largest mammal, 
the black bear, slips into a state of dormancy when 
outside temperatures and food options decline. In 
addition to traditional ground dens in large piles ot 
brush and other debris, black bears will den in 
hollow trees. Cubs are generally born in mid- to 
late January, but do not venture out ol the den until 
March-April Ihey will remain with the mother, or 
sow, during their first year. 

Other animals moving about in the woods 
include the turkey, the bobcat, the gray fox and red 
fox, and the white-tailed deer. Look for deer antlers 
on the ground, as bucks sheci them from mid- 
January through early February. 

With food sources scarce, it is especially 
important to keep garbage cans securely locked and 
pet food indoors. It's advisable to take down bird 
feeders and seed. Consider broadcasting seed on 
the ground instead. During snowfalls and periods 
of wet, wincly weather, such feedings may make the 
difference between survival and tleath for feathered 
friends who overwinter here. 

( xild-bloodcd reptiles like the black kingsnake 
live in the groimd, while turtles will overwinter in 
leaves and soil. Frogs and salaniaiulers and other 

amphibians burrow into mud banks and pond 
bottoms to endure the cold temps. In February, 
some begin to stir. The first big rain will roust them 
from their slumber and by early March turn their 
attention to breeding — often in small, ephemeral 
(or temporary) ponds. 

During new and full moons, the gravitational 
pull of the sun and moon results in greater tidal 
action, observed in both lower and higher tides. 
This is especially apparent in major tributaries of 
the Chesapeake, near the mouth of the bay, but can 
be seen to the uppermost tidal reaches (generally 
near the fall line). Watch and listen for drama along 
the riverbank and in the marshes during a full 
moon. Late evening walks can be exciting, 
especially along field edges and riverbanks, where 
owls and hawks may be scouting a meal. The 
Eastern screech owl is commonly heard this time 
of year in farm fields and woodlands. In western 
areas, among hardwoods and conifers listen for 
barred owls and saw-whet owls. 

Along the coast, winter travelers include snow 
geese, tundra swans, and a variety of ducks. In the 
western areas of the state, hawks will be moving 
through come late March, using mountain ridges 
and other topographic features for migration clues 
while they take advantage of prevailing wind 
currents. D 


Photo Tips 

by Lynda Richardson 

Happy Horizontal Horizons 

I laugh when I think back to the early 
1 980s when I shot basketball games for 
the Associated Press. As you may remember, 
those were the days of black and white 
film — Kodak TRI-X film to be exact — with 
an ISO rating of 400. Basketball games were 
held in notoriously dark coliseums, so 
photographers were always "pushing" their 
film to ISO 1600, hoping to get at least 
1 / 1 25* of a second shutter speed to TRY to 
stop the action. 

And depth-ot-field? Hah, what depth- 
of-field? Needless to say, in my rookie years 
at basketball I did not produce my best 
work but I did learn to solve another 

Horizon lines! One of the most chal- 
lenging aspects of shooting basketball was 
trying to capture the action AND have a 
straight horizon line — ohen producing 
hilarious results. In basketball, the horizon 
line was the floor. It had to be straight or it 
appeared that the scene was in utter chaos! 

(Well, sometimes it was.) So, not only did 
you have to concentrate on manually focus- 
ing and capturing the best action, you also 
had to worry about getting the floor 
horizontal in the frame! 

Most of you will probably not be 
shooting basketball but you will be taking 
photographs where the horizon line really 
needs to be straight. Landscape photography 
is a perfect example ot when you need 
straight horizon lines. Try shooting a picture 
of a landscape with a straight horizon and 
then an angled one. Don't you feel like youVe 
getting seasick or dizzy looking at the one 
that's crooked? Doesn't it look like the scene 
is falling off the page? This is why I stress that 
you become very mindful of keeping your 
horizons level. 

Another important issue with horizon 
lines is the compositional aspect. Horizon 
lines work best if they are not smack dab 
center in the frame! Using a one-third to two- 
thirds ratio you should learn to compose 

your landscape so the sky, for example, 
makes up only one-third of the image and 
the land makes up the other two-thirds, or 
vice versa. One of the exercises I give in my 
workshops is to experiment with this idea. 
First, select a landscape or seascape that you 
want to photograph. Now, shoot it with the 
horizon line in the center. For the next two 
shots you will shoot the sky as one-third of 
the scene and then two-thirds of the scene. 
Try this with several other landscapes. Make 
sure that your horizon lines are straight and 
also purposefully make them crooked. Now 
you should clearly see how distracting a 
crooked centered horizon line can be! 

The next time you're shooting a scene 
where the horizon line comes into play, 
make sure it is straight and out of the center 
of the image. Not only will you make 
photographs that are well composed, you 
will also become a better photographer. And 
you didn't even have to shoot a basketball 
game to learn it! □ 

Minimizing the sl<y to at least 1/3"' of the image can place more emphasis on your foreground subject and mal<e a better composition. Mal<ing 
sure your horizon line is straight, even with a super wide-angle shot, can keep distractions to a minimum. © Lynda Richardson 

JANUARY 2011 33 



by Ken and Maria Perrotte 

Hearty Venison Soup 

Summer recipes have the luxury oi letting you create with 
lots of fresh fruits and vegetables. By January, though, it's 
helpful to have recipes that work well with frozen or canned 
ingredients. Tliis soup always "hits the spot" when served after 
spending time outdoors on a brisk Virginia winter day. 

Neck or front shoulder meat from a deer can contribute 
to fine soups and stews. But, li you're a soup aficionado, there's 
nothing wrong with using finer roasts and backstraps in a 
premium soup that is served as a main course. 

Hearty Venison Vegetable Soup 

1 tablespoon olive oil 

1 to 1 Vi pounds venison stew meat, trimmed and cut into 
Vi inch cubes 

1 teaspoon Montreal Steak Seasoning 
5 cups beef broth or stock 

Vi pound frozen soup vegetables mix (about 2 cups) 

Other vegetables (green beans are nice), optional 

Vi bay leaf 

Vi teaspoon garlic pepper 

Vi of a 1 5-ounce can diced tomatoes w/juice 

Salt and pepper 

2 cups rotini, macaroni or other pasta, uncooked 

In a large pot or Dutch oven cook 
the meat, seasoned with Montreal 
steak seasoning, in oil over 
medium-high heat until liquids 
have evaporated. Stir meat until 
browned on most sides. 
Gradually add 3 cups of the 
broth, frozen vegetables, 
seasonings, and 3 or 4 
t.iblespoons oi juice hom 
tomatoes. Bring to a boil, reduce 
heat and simmer covered, for at 
least an hour or until meat is 
tender. Add tomatoes and 
simmer for another 5 minutes. 
Add last 2 cups of broth and season to taste. Add pasta and 
bring back to boil. Reduce heat and simmer until pasta is soft. 
Adjust seasonings if needed. 
Makes 4 to 6 servings 

Can be made ahead of time to the point of adding pasta. 
Tliis also helps concentrate flavors. Tliis recipe is easily 
doubled. Heck, cjuadruple it and cook it in a cauldron to serve 
at a late season tailgate party. You can also add it to a thermos 
for a great duck blind or similar "brown bag " lunch. 

Cheese Bread 

6 to 7 ounces of mixed shredded cheeses (we like to combine 
Monterey Jack, sharp cheddar and Swiss, but blue cheese, 
gruyere, Colby or other favorites can be used) 

2 ounces cream cheese, softened at room temperature 

2 tablespoon butter or margarine, softened at room 

1 teaspoon sherry or port wine 

1 teaspoon finely chopped garlic 

I tablespoon chopped parsley 

1 tablespoon chopped chives 

1 teaspoon chopped rosemary 

1 loaf French or Italian bread 

In a mixing bowl, combine shredded cheeses, softened cream 
cheese, and wine. Add garlic, parsley, chives and rosemary and 
mix well. Cut French bread into %-inch slices, almost all the 
way through. Spread and stuff cheese mixture in the cut sides 
with a little spilling out on the top of the loaf Wrap the loaf 
in aluminum foil, open at the top, and bake at 350° for about 
1 5 minutes or until the cheeses are melted. 
Serve immediately. 

Experiment with different cheeses and herbs. Additional 
butter can be substituted for cream cheese if desired. 

Here's a nice dessert that follows up well with a hearty soup 

Apple Crisp 

2 Vi pounds apples, peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes 
(about 5 cups) 

Vi cup walnuts 

Vl teaspoon ground cinnamon 

!/4 cup white sugar 

'/4 cup brown sugar 

Vi cup orange juice 

1 generous tablespoon brandy (optional) 


1 cup flour 

Vl cup sugar 

1 teaspoon baking powder 

1 stick butter, softened at room temperature 

Whipped cream 

Mix the apple ingredients and place in a greased baking dish. 
Combine the topping ingredients, working until crumbly and 
well mixed. Place over apples in the dish. 

Bake at 400" for about Vi hour or until apples are soft 
and topping is browned. Serve warm with whipped cream. 
Vanilla ice cream also works nicely if preferred. D 



Nongame Tax Checkoff Fund 

Celebrate the 28th Anniversary of Virginia's Nongame Wildlife Program by helping to 
support essential research and management of Virginia's native birds, fish, and 
nongame animals. 

if you are due a tax refund from the Commonwealth of Virginia, you can contribute to the 
Virginia Nongame Wildlife Program by simply marking the appropriate place on this year's tax 
checkoff on the Virginia State Income Tax form. 

if you would like to make a cash donation directly to the Virginia Nongame Wildlife Program 

using a VISA or MasterCard, you can visit the 
Department's website or mail a check made out 
to Virginia Nongame Program. Mail to: 
Virginia Nongame Program 
4010 W. Broad St. 
Richmond, VA 23230- 1104 

©John R. Ford 

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